Sunday, February 3, 2008

A letter from the Council 17 April 2002

My impulse (slow off the mark I admit) to create this blog was a series of letters exchanged in the first part of 2002. I had some telephone conversations with the Council officer concerned (civilised) and the local MP's agent (patronising). Then the political situation changed and the in-coming Liberal Democrat Council appears not to have pursued the 'scheme'.

I have re-typed the first letter I received from the then Council, partly because of the problems of scanning and clarity and also to delete the name of the Council officer; this blog is about issues not personalities and I do not wish to be seen to being in pursuit of anyone. There are greater matters at stake.

Deep breath ... I am NOT against development and indeed I am much more of a 'developer' than I may appear. In my view the whole area between the Ouseburn road and rail bridges and Shieldfield would benefit from large scale re-development where possible, especially the 70s vintage flats and the adjacent Shieldfield Health Centre, which face onto the open space. It is simply the type of re-development and its uses. The potential is exciting, but the plans that have been proposed are (or were) full of an aching familiarity and short term thinking. The character of the area was ignored, possibly because developers think the same way where ever they happen to be. Not so much planning as paperhanging. Newcastle, once described as a world class example of Georgian and Victorian architecture, has suffered enormously at the hands of developers in recent decades. Even now, buildings are going up which are not even trivial.

Some points from the letter are made in notes which I have added immediately beneath the text.

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